5-13. CLEANING OF BRUSHES AND ROLLERS
General. In order to keep paint brushes soft and pliable, they should be cleaned immediately after use. Once the
material has been allowed to stand overnight, no amount of cleaning will restore the original pliability or remove the
hardened material from the heel of the brush. Solvents or thinners used with the material just applied by the brush are the
best possible cleaners. Mineral spirits paint thinner, xylene (ASTM D846), turpentine, and synthetic enamel thinner are
some of the common brush-cleaning fluids.
Xylene is a hazardous material and must be disposed of in accordance with AR
420-47, Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.
Steps in Cleaning.
Save cleaning materials by first pressing the brush firmly against the rim or side of the paint container, thus
squeezing out as much paint as possible.
In the event the paint has hardened in the brush, it should be softened and carefully worked out with a putty
Pour a small amount of brush cleaning fluid into a shallow, wide-mouthed container and work it thoroughly
into the brush, making sure that the fluid gets up to base of the bristles.
When this small amount of fluid is loaded with paint from the brush, discard the fluid. Take a somewhat
larger amount of fresh fluid and repeat the operation as many times as necessary until all traces of pigment and paint
disappear and the bristles are soft and pliable.
Paint rollers are cleaned in much the same manner. Use a pan instead of' a pail and soften by following the
instructions given by the roller manufacturer.
5-14. CARE AND STORAGE OF BRUSHES AND ROLLERS
General. The proper care of paint brushes and rollers requires the use of a few basic rules:
Never stand brushes, wet or dry, on their bristles. This will cause the bristles to become permanently bent
or deformed and will ruin the brush.
A brush used periodically should be stored in a keeper, such as a container of linseed oil or another
appropriate thinner. Suspend the brush from a nail or hook so that the bristles are covered with thinner but are not
touching the bottom of the container.
Brushes that are not frequently used should be thoroughly cleaned with the proper paint thinner or cleaning
agent. After drying, they should be stored in a wrapper to retain their shape.
For care of rollers, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Paint brushes in daily use should be kept overnight in a brush keeper. Immersion of the cleaned brush in
oil or thinner will assure that the bristles will remain soft and pliable. Segregate brushes in their keepers according to the
type of material used. Use a MIL-T-81772 keeper for brushes used with CARC; use a linseed oil keeper for brushes that
are for use with paints and varnishes; place dope and lacquer thinner in the keeper for brushes used with lacquers; use
synthetic-resin enamel thinner for brushes that are used with enamels; and use alcohol, MIL-STD-1201 or O-E-760, for
brushes that are used with shellacs. A keeper cover should be used to prevent evaporation and contain the flammable
vapors of solvents and thinners.